Its by far the best of those "only in Japan" blogs full of weird and wacky things, with particular tastes: it often runs startling stories on robot technology, old graphic design, traditional Japanese monsters, and octopuses.
I check it every once in a while and there is always something interesting:
At the moment I'm very interested in these macabre Japanese "urban legends":
The weirdness of modern Japanese life totally fascinates me, so that's a great website.
The first time I went to Tokyo it totally freaked me out (even though I was staying at the Shinjuku Inter-Continental), so I made myself go back a second time, saying to myself "you just saw things wrong the first time; next time will be completely normal." Well, it freaked me out even more.
Meanwhile, ilbonito, I hope that you are fully familiar with the fabulous saga of Kewpie Pasta Sauce. The creepy images and the relentless march of the kewpies (and of course the song!) are totally addictive.
I think the thing about Japan is that it lulls you in with a false sense of familiarity. The people don't wear turbans or veils or (most of the time) kimonos, they are in jeans and T-shirts or suits, wearing similar clothes to us (although they wear them better). They eat McDonalds and pasta, and watch baseball and shop in department stores. Its tempting to think they are not really that different. But then you'll see something completey alien - like a Kewpie TV commercial - that breaks through that thin veneer of Westernization, and you realise that so much of their culture and way of thinking is still completely foreign.
The title of that website is forcing me to tell this anecdote ....
This happened with several adults of my acquaintance dining at a restaurant. Accompanying them was the rather obnoxious child of one couple. At some point, the kid was regaling the table with a long account of a Japanese horror movie he'd seen on tv, wherein a giant octopus menaced a large city. During the account, one of those odd hushes that sometimes strike public places fell upon the restaurant. It was at that moment that the child said in his piping, carrying voice, "And there he was, on top of a tall building, waving his testicles in the air!"
31 Mar 2010 For centuries, rumors have circulated in Japan about a ghost story so horrific that people die of fright soon after hearing it.
The dreadful tale, known as " Cow Head" appears to date back at least to the early 17th century. Several known written accounts from this era make reference to the awful story, but they merely mention its title and describe it as a tale too terrible to tell.
The actual details of the story remain a mystery to this day, because those with the misfortune of knowing it usually do not live long enough to repeat it.
According to the rumors, most people who read or hear the story are overcome with a fear so great that they tremble violently for days on end, until they die.
Although most people nowadays regard the tale as a complete fabrication, rumors of its existence have strangely survived, passing from generation to generation by word of mouth. Some theories suggest the rumors gained new life in the 1960s, after science fiction writer Sakyo Komatsu wrote a short story (titled “Cow Head�) based on the old tale. There is no hard evidence supporting this claim, though.
In any case, references to the rumored story occasionally pop up in conversation and online.
One recent account tells of an elementary school teacher who told the “Cow Head� story to his poor students while the class was on a school trip. According to the account, the teacher was entertaining the students on the bus with ghost stories. The students, who tended to become unruly on long trips, grew remarkably subdued as they listened to the teacher speak. Many of them seemed truly frightened by the stories he told.
After some time, the teacher announced he would tell a tale called “Cow Head.� Before he could finish the first sentence of the story, however, the children began to panic. “Stop!� they cried. “Don’t tell us!� One child turned pale and covered his ears, and the others began to scream. But the teacher did not stop. His eyes went blank and he proceeded with the story as if some unseen force had taken over his mind.
Later, after the teacher regained his senses, he found that the bus had stopped moving. The students had all fainted and were frothing at the mouth. The driver lay slumped over the wheel, sweating and shivering. It is unclear what happened next, except that the teacher never told the story again.
Yeah the parrallels are very strong aren't they? Its interesting that you can often see these traditional Japanese beliefs influencing their horror movies. The "cursed Kleenex TV commercial" (also reported by Pinktentacle) is very much a modern update of the "cowhead" story, and a precursor to the Ring series.